Several of you asked: “Why can’t monitoring seizure activity be done outside the hospital setting while the patient goes about their normal routine, similar to that of a holter monitor for the heart.”
A Mayo Clinic nurse from the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit offers this explanation:
“This is an excellent question! We try to mimic the patient’s triggers as much as possible during their stay in our epilepsy monitoring unit. Examples of this include exercise, encouraging the patient to use forms of stress when possible (such as work or crosswords), and photic stimulation (a form of visual stimulation used in conjunction with electroencephalography to investigate anomalous brain activity triggered by specific visual stimuli, such as flashing lights or patterns).
There are many factors at play during this hospitalization with the most important being safety. While in the epilepsy monitoring unit, we are able to promote a safe environment to adjust seizure medications as needed. There are physicians, nurses, epilepsy monitoring technicians, and other staff that may be required to provide care before, during, and after a seizure.
Before the seizure, each patient’s history is reviewed and discussed with the team, patient, and patient’s family to determine a course of action towards capturing a seizure. Safety equipment is used during this time due to the increased possibility of having a seizure to prevent injury. During an event, technicians and nurses are able to quickly use safety interventions and monitoring, such as oxygen and suction, to ensure the patient is safe. Medications and staff resources are available while in the hospital, if more medical attention is needed to help a patient recover from a seizure. After an event, the focus remains on safety and attending to the patient’s needs.
Other logistical issues with being in the patient’s own environment include that the EEG leads are not wireless and need maintenance from our technicians throughout each day.”
What other ways could our staff better simulate your own home environment?